Abstract

Vapor diffusion in porous media in the presence of its own liquid has often been analyzed similar to air diffusion. Air diffusion rate is much lower than in free space due to the presence of the porous medium and any liquid present. However, enhanced vapor diffusion has also been postulated such that the diffusion rate may approach free-space values. The mechanisms postulated to account for this enhancement include condensation/evaporation across isolated liquid islands in the porous media and an increased temperature gradient in the gas phase. In order to try to understand the mechanisms involved in such an enhancement, pore-scale models have been developed. Vapor diffusion in the presence of liquid islands has been evaluated for a one-dimensional linear system, a two-dimensional pore, and a small two-dimensional pore network under a concentration gradient. The simulations show that significant enhancement of vapor diffusion is indeed possible in the presence of liquid islands, while air diffusion decreases slightly. While the present pore-scale model indicates that enhanced vapor diffusion is possible, only experimental data can confirm the relevant processes.

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